University of Sheffield landscape research helps city project scoop top awards

The awards cabinet is growing for Sheffield’s new Grey to Green regeneration programme – after it scooped two coveted Yorkshire In Bloom awards.

The Grey to Green scheme, inspired by University of Sheffield landscape research, which has turned a redundant former inner ring road into a series of innovative meadows, public spaces and art whilst also providing flood prevention has won the 2016 Yorkshire Rose Environmental Quality Award, the top environmental award in Yorkshire, as well as a Gold Award in the City Centre category in an awards ceremony held in York last week.

The project has also been shortlisted for several national awards.

The awards were presented to Sheffield City Council’s project client Lucia Lorente-Arnau and landscape architect Duncan Bradbury by Prunella Scarlett from the Royal Horticultural Society.

The Grey to Green Corridor has transformed the setting of Sheffield’s Riverside Business District, developing the former inner ring road into an eye-catching display of public art, benches, a new sustainable urban drainage system (SUDs) and plant beds based on techniques developed at the Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield, by Professor Nigel Dunnett, one of the main designers behind the wildflower landscapes in London’s Olympic park, and the Royal Horticultural Society’s Ambassador for ‘Greening Grey Britain’.

The drainage system has been designed by the Council and leading national expert Robert Bray to help flood relief in this part of the city by soaking up surface water run off to the river within the ‘flood zone’.

The overall Grey to Green project will eventually transform 1.2 kilometres of redundant roads into attractive new linear public spaces, improving the links between the Riverside Business District, Victoria Quays, Kelham Island and the rest of the city centre.

Phase 1 of the scheme started in April 2015 and cost £3.4 million and was funded by the new Sheffield City Region Investment Fund (SCRIF) – the first project to be supported from this pot – and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Both funds are aimed at unlocking key strategic development opportunities and providing economic infrastructure.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for parks, leisure and tourism at Sheffield City Council, said: “The Grey to Green scheme has transformed a less heralded part of the city centre into an eye-catching display of colour and exciting public art. These awards are well deserved and point the way ahead for the rest of the scheme, with West Bar itself currently undergoing a considerable transformation.”

Professor Nigel Dunnett, from the University of Sheffield, said: “It is so exciting to see Sheffield take a leadership role in implementing large-scale innovative city greening. It’s been a privilege to apply our experience and research at the University to help develop new plantings that combine major environmental benefits with a beautiful and colourful meadow-like appearance.”

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